Re: The Eightfold Path
- I read "Knowledge of the Higher Worlds And Its Attainment" forty years ago as a young man who could not see himself following the guidelines in the book the rest of his life and eventually reach the goal after a couple of incarnations, festivities, girls and various other interests took much time then.
Many times later I have thought about starting to meditate, I had instructions from my mother, both Steiners and Franz Hartmanns, But I had an inner resistance against it.
I learned to control my dreams fully, changing them on the fly to what I thought was fun. Then I suddenly stopped remembering dreams in about 25 to 30 years. Five years ago I read a rewrite of Steiners interpretation of Buddhas Eightfold Way, and it was something of a revelation, and I started remembering dreams again.
For about a year ago i read "Knowledge of ... " for the first time after I was grown up, and it was a revelation, especially the chapter concerning the 16, 12, and 6 petaled lotus flowers, as they tell you how it's going. It would have helped to read it once a year, or something like that, to have a kind of inventory to see whats good and whats bad, what to work on, and maybe to understand what your life/karma is about right now. Astrology could do something like that too, but it's outer knowledge where the other becomes inner knowledge. I have not used the methods in the book or any other methods, and it's up to the student what he want to do, whats his way, but that chapter is god for taking stock.
In "An Esoteric Cosmology, X, THE ASTRAL WORLD" Steiner speaks about the same topic, but from a different view:
All the great Founders of religions have been possessed of clairvoyant sight. They are the spiritual Guides of mankind, and their precepts are precepts of the moral life based on astral and spiritual truths. This explains the similarities in all the religions. There is a certain similarity, for instance, between the Eight-fold Path of the Buddha and the Eight Beatitudes of Christ. The same underlying truth is that whenever man develops one of the virtues, he unfolds a new faculty of perception. Why are eight stages mentioned? Because the seer knows that the faculties which may be transmuted into organs of perception are eight in number.
The astral organs of perception are called in occultism, the `lotus-flowers' (sacred wheels, chakra). The lotus-flower with sixteen petals lies in the region of the larynx. In very ancient times this lotus-flower turned from right to left that is to say in the opposite direction to the hands of a clock. In the man of today, this lotus-flower has ceased to turn. In the clairvoyant seer it begins to move in the opposite direction from left to right. In earlier times, eight of the sixteen petals were visible, the others undeveloped. In future ages they will all be visible, for the first eight are the result of the action of unconscious initiation, the other eight of the conscious initiation attained by dint of personal effort. The eight new petals correspond to the Beatitudes of Christ.
Another lotus-flower (with twelve petals) is situated in the region of the heart. In earlier times, six petals only were visible. The acquisition of six virtues will, in times to come, develop the other six. These six virtues are: control of thought, power of initiative, balance of the faculties, optimism which enables a man always to see the positive side of things, freedom from prejudice, and finally, harmony in the life of soul. When these virtues have been acquired, the twelve petals begin to move. They express the sacred quality of the number twelve which we have in the twelve Apostles, the twelve knights of King Arthur, and again in all creation, in all action. Everything in the world develops according to twelve different aspects. We have another example in Goethe's poem, Die Geheimnisse, which expresses the ideal of the Rosicrucians. According to the explanation given by Goethe to certain students, each of the twelve Companions of the Rose Cross represents a religious creed.
We find these virtues expressed again in signs and symbols, for symbols are not arbitrary inventions they are realities. The symbol of the Cross, for instance, as well as that of the Swastika, represents the four-petalled chakram in man. The twelve-petalled flower is expressed in the symbol of the Rose Cross and the twelve Companions. The thirteenth among them, the invisible Companion who unites them all, represents the truth that unites all religions.